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Global 5G subscriptions to exceed 5.3 billion in 2029: Report

According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, 5G subscriptions in India are expected to reach 130 million this year and grow to 860 million by 2029

A man walks past components of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN) at the Jio exhibitor stall at the India Mobile Congress 2023 at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, India, October 27, 2023.(Reuters)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 30.11.2023  |  06:00 PM IST

India is fast becoming a substantial 5G market. According to the twenty-fifth edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report, 5G subscriptions in India are expected to reach 130 million this year and grow to 860 million by 2029.

Moreover, globally, the report estimates that almost one in five of all global mobile subscriptions will be 5G subscriptions by the end of 2023. The growth of 5G has proved resilient despite continued economic challenges and geopolitical unrest in some markets. Global 5G subscriptions are forecast to top 5.3 billion by the end of 2029, the report, which was released on 30 November, reveals.

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The Ericsson Mobility Report has been a key industry reference source for network data, performance, statistics, and forecasts since its launch in 2011.

The latest edition of the report estimates that globally there will be 610 million new 5G subscriptions for the calendar year 2023 – a 63 percent increase on 2022 – bringing the global total to 1.6 billion, about 100 million more than previously predicted.

Regionally, the uptake of 5G subscriptions in North America continues to be strong. By the end of 2023, the region is expected to have the highest 5G subscription penetration globally at 61 percent, the report says.

5G subscription growth has also been strong in India throughout 2023. At the end of 2023 – almost 14 months after its commercial launch – 5G penetration is expected to have topped 11 percent in India. The report says 4G continues to be the dominant subscription type driving connectivity and fueling data growth in India. However, as subscribers migrate to 5G, 4G subscriptions are forecast to decline from 870 million in 2023 to 390 million by 2029. Total mobile subscriptions in the region are estimated to grow to 1.27 billion in 2029.

In the six years between the end of 2023 and 2029, global 5G subscriptions are forecast to increase by more than 330 percent – from 1.6 billion to 5.3 billion. 5G coverage is forecast to be available to more than 45 percent of the global population by the end of 2023 and 85 percent by the end of 2029, the report adds. North America and the Gulf Cooperation Council are expected to have the highest regional 5G penetration rates by the end of 2029 at 92 percent. Western Europe is forecast to follow at 85 percent penetration.

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Enhanced mobile broadband, fixed wireless access, gaming and augmented reality, virtual reality-based services are the most common early consumer use cases for 5G.

Globally, average monthly mobile data usage per smartphone is expected to reach 56 GB, rising from 21 GB at the end of 2023.

There are similar trend forecasts for India too. Average data traffic per smartphone is projected to grow from 31GB per month in 2023 to around 75 GB per month in 2029 in the country, while smartphone subscriptions in India as a percentage of total mobile subscriptions are expected to grow from 82% in 2023 to 93% in 2029.

Also read: Looking for 5G phones on a budget? This list is for you